Empowering persons with disabilities in eastern Sri Lanka
BATTICALOA [ACTED News] – Between 8% and 10% of Sri Lanka’s population is disabled, according to reports. This figure fails to account for two decades of conflict, which resulted in physical disabilities through fighting, bombs, mines and psychosocial trauma. Many individuals experience poverty and social exclusion as a result of their physical or mental disability and are rendered vulnerable to shocks.
ACTED and its partners have been working in former conflict-affected areas to promote the inclusion of persons with disabilities. To date, ACTED has provided 24 confidence building sessions for these persons and distributed 119 mobility aids. Moreover, ACTED has organized 25 inclusion awareness sessions for grassroots organizations, further sensitizing communities to disability issues.
In Batticaloa District, confidence building workshops have provided individuals like Sinnathamby with a voice and the confidence to seek out livelihood opportunities. Because of the conflict, Sinnathamby’s arm was amputated and he had been suffering from a lack of integration. “People in the village started to accept me as a valuable person to contribute to livelihoods thanks to the confidence building sessions”, he comments.
The project is supported by the European Union.